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Al Zaabi Affirms UAE’s Dedication to Strengthening VA Regulatory Framework

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is unwavering in its commitment to strengthen the regulatory framework for virtual assets (VAs) and virtual asset service providers (VASPs), affirmed Hamid Al Zaabi, the Director-General of the UAE Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (EO AMLCTF). Al Zaabi emphasized the UAE’s dedication to creating a robust regulatory structure for virtual assets, aiming to attract innovative firms while deterring illicit activities in the global financial system.

Global Collaboration on AML/CFT Supervision

In collaboration with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the UAE recently hosted a “Fintech Roundtable” to discuss Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) supervisory methodologies for virtual assets. The event saw participation from numerous countries, fostering collaboration, knowledge exchange, and addressing challenges associated with money laundering and terrorist financing risks related to virtual assets.

Draft Supervisory Methodology for Risk-Based Oversight

The workshop featured the presentation of a draft supervisory methodology for the risk-based supervision of virtual assets and service providers, developed by the IMF. Participants, representing various countries, reached a consensus on the urgent need for actions to mitigate potential ML/TF risks from virtual assets. Robust AML/CFT risk-based supervision was highlighted as crucial, with an emphasis on assessing associated ML/TF risks as the foundation for an effective supervisory regime.

Challenges and Solutions: Al Zaabi

Participants identified challenges such as capacity limitations, resource gaps, and cross-border risks. The importance of collaboration among supervisory agencies and the need for flexible methodologies tailored to diverse national contexts were underscored. The outcomes aimed to enhance international cooperation and contribute to the design process of a vital new methodology for VA/VASP supervision.

UAE’s AML/CFT Progress

The UAE, demonstrating significant progress in AML/CFT efforts, recently concluded a comprehensive review of achievements in the first half of 2023. Al Zaabi highlighted the positive outcome as a testament to the UAE’s robust, responsive, and effective national AML/CFT system. Notably, the UAE successfully confiscated over Dh1.309 billion from March 2023 to mid-July 2023, showcasing its commitment to combating illicit financing and preserving the integrity of the global financial system.

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